By Kyle Baker (Abrams)
ISBN: 978-0-8109-9535-2 (TPB)
Nat Turner was a prophet rebel and freedom fighter who died for what he believed. As instigator and leader of a brutal, bloody and short slave uprising in Southampton County, Virginia on August 21st 1831, he shook up complacent America and paved the way to civil war and civil rights.
Anything else you need to know is provided in this powerfully evocative adaptation of Turner’s own words and actions. This award-winning, toned and tinted monochrome testament was originally released as a 4-issue miniseries through author Kyle Baker’s own publishing imprint before being picked up by the prestigious Abrams outfit.
Born in Queens, New York in 1965, Kyle John Baker is black, astoundingly gifted and blessed with an incredible sense of humour. You should read his other stuff like Plastic Man, Dick Tracy, Why I Hate Saturn, The Cowboy Wally Show, The Shadow, Truth: Red, White and Black, Damage Control, Special Forces and so much more. He does superheroes, gag stuff, political satire, commercial art and animation exceedingly well, and here he deftly relates a horrific piece of biographical history…
How and why is the subject of his brief ‘Preface’ before initial chapter ‘Home’ set the scene, by detailing a slave raid in Africa. Texture is provided by excepts from contemporary documents such as ‘The Memoir of Captain Theodore Canot: Twenty Years of an African Slaver’ and the posthumous publication ‘The Confessions of Nat Turner’, but the impetus of the tale is carried by Baker’s compelling silent illustrations: and they are uncompromising and unforgettable…
‘Education’ reveals a slave’s childhood in Virginia, and the events that led to the rebellion: how a slave somehow learned to read (an illegal act) and was transformed by Bible study into a divinely-inspired liberator driven by visions of ‘Freedom’.
The bloody actions are not downplayed or excused, and lead to ‘Triumph’ of a sort as the imprisoned Turner dictates his side of the story to journalist Thomas R. Gray…
With found print material of the period, a wide-ranging Bibliography and comprehensive ‘Notes’ explaining historical points, this is a timeless wonder you must read.
The Confessions of Nat Turner © 2008 Kyle Baker. All rights reserved.